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Re: heading question


From: chagnon@pubcom.com
Date: Dec 16, 2019 9:34AM

Birkir Gunnarsson wrote:
Quote: In our testing, which is limited and focused more on non-technical
users, not a single users knows what landmarks are, let alone how to
navigate by them. End Quote.

We've found similar results, too, as well as the complaint about screen
reader noise (or TMI, too much information that tires my ears).

During the last few years of standards development, I've wondered if we've
over-engineered them too much. Example: Aria is so complicated -- and so
poorly documented -- that it's nearly impossible for content developers and
A T manufacturers to build to it, let alone for end users to use it. A good
example is the number of questions on this list about making Aria work. To
be successful, a standard must be much easier to figure out than that.

I don't intend to single out Aria for this "code bloat:" HTML5, CSS, PDF/UA
and EPUB are following the same path.

It's hard to find the balance between what's helpful and what's overkill. I
like Birkir Gunnarsson's statement: Aria landmarks are for regions of a page
(or document for PDFs and EPUBs), and tags are to label the specific types
of content in those regions.

This type of balance gives users the capability to read the content any way
they need to.

If they want to navigate by heading levels, fine. It's there with a logical
hierarchy when that's needed in a technical document or textbook. If they
want to quickly find a particular section, fine. It's there with Aria

And always KISS -- keep it simple, sweetie.

If we make the system so difficult and costly to implement for developers,
designers, and authors, then it just won't get done at all or at least very
poorly, and that doesn't help anyone.

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-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum < <EMAIL REMOVED> > On Behalf Of
Birkir R. Gunnarsson
Sent: Sunday, December 15, 2019 9:31 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] heading question

Our usability testing has focused on first time users of an unfamiliar
website (users could learn to use headings more effectively in the context
of a site or site section that they frequent).
So far the testing has been solely focused on web content (not PDF), though
our plan is to expand our testing into PDF and mobile apps.
Sadly the use of landmarks for navigation has been on the decline among
screen reader users, according to the latest WebAIM screen reader survey
(too lazy to Google the URL right now).
In our testing, which is limited and focused more on non-technical users,
not a single users knows what landmarks are, let alone how to navigate by
My recommendation is to mark header, footer and main content as landmarks
but I see a lot less value in the semantically specific things like
complementary, I think authors have a hard time understanding wen to use it,
let alone users.
I use h2s to mark start of header and footer and h1 to mark the start of the
main content (this is to ensure that users do not think h3 or
h4 headings in the footer are subheadings of content on the main page, which
could be an h2 or h3).
I try to keep headings sequential and make sure they describe the underlying
content structure, it can be tricky when using a variety of card components
that are built separately and then plopped down on the same page, but we do
a fairly good job keeping it consistent.

On 12/15/19, Michael Ausbun < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
> In my experience as a screen reader user and former assistive
> technology instructor, most students who receive vocational
> rehabilitation services or blindness adjustment and orientation
> training in the United States (A) use JAWS; and (B) navigate using the
general heading shortcut key (H for jaws).
> The following observation will be framed in the context of jaws:
> The population of people receiving vocational
> rehabilitation services in the United States is fairly substantial,
> and, the age ranges anywhere from 14 in some states to 90. For
> example, in Utah alone, approximately 11,000 people receive services
> through the department of services for the blind and visually
> impaired. When people receive computer services, most are provided a
> windows PC with JAWS and instructed how to use the basics for daily
> living, including basic web browsing (I believe students should learn
> multiple screen readers, but my opinion is a minority thought).
> My thought:
> Heading hierarchy is really, really important for spatial and
> contextual orientation to web pages.
> General belief:
> With the inconsistencies in:
> * Heading application
> * Heading sequential ordering
> * Heading placement
> * Heading hierarchy
> * Heading text
> Relying on headings for orientation and navigation is inefficient. If
> headings are well structured; and, if headings are used for each
> section of a web page; and, if headings are sequentially ordered; and,
> if heading texts are clear, concise, and descriptive; then, using the
> 1-6 heading level navigation coupled with JAWS+F6 for curating all
> headings on a page is helpful. However, because most are not, using
> the H key is sufficient beyond familiar documents.
> Thought:
> If we as a community pushed harder for a consistent structure-similar
> to the way header, nav, main, aside, footer, etc. landmark regions
> have been implemented in HTML5, I think the efficiency would be
> significantly improved, and, the instruction within rehabilitation
> instruction would significantly improve as well.
> Right now though, a rather substantial population-at least in the
> US-is being instructed more to rely on general V. specific navigation
> With the poor quality of assistive technology instruction in the K-12
> system, and with the increase of blindness as a result of aging, I
> tend to believe this trend will continue, with the majority of users
> who are not experts (most) following this pattern.
> Not really sure any of this is helpful, but I had to get my thoughts
> out-they have been floating around my head all weekend.
> Hope all is well!
> Respectfully,
> ,Michael
> > > archives at http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
> >

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